I thought that this year would be easier. The first year is supposed to be the hardest, right? I misjudged. I think the first year I was kind of numb. It is almost like I didn’t know how to process her absence.
I spent most of 2014 trying to figure out what to do next. I spent most of 2015 in tears.
The second year without my mom was easily the hardest year I have ever had. I don’t want to say the worst year ever, because a lot of good things happened to me. I started writing for this website, I started an internship in the field I want to work in after I graduate, I got a decent job, I made new friends — the list goes on.
But for all the wonderful things, this year was also the year that I woke up each morning feeling an absence in me. Last year I didn’t feel like she was gone. This year I felt every syllable of the phrase — my mom is dead.
My mom is dead. My mom is not here anymore. I can’t call her. I can’t touch her. I can’t hear her laugh. I can’t tell her about my successes and failures. I can’t do anything because she is not here. I don’t think I will ever get used to not having her around. I don’t think I want to.
As difficult as this year has been as a whole, this month has been the worst.
My mother died on November 29, 2013. That year, it was the day after Thanksgiving. For me, Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday, now it’s simply a reminder.
On November 1st I felt different. This was the month. The anniversary was coming. The dreaded Thanksgiving dinner was coming. I tried to alter my focus.
Two of my very favorite people in the world have birthdays in November. I tried to focus my energy on making those the best birthdays ever.
Then those days passed and the only other thing going on in the month of November was Thanksgiving and the anniversary.
I tried to focus on Christmas. I planned for Christmas. I bought gifts. I talked about it all the time. I decorated for Christmas. No matter how hard I tried to pretend that Thanksgiving no longer existed, it still came. I still had to go to my cousins’. I still had to eat the food. I still had to smile. I still had to tell everyone I was adjusting fine.
Is that a thing? Adjusting fine after a loved one dies? I don’t think that is a real thing.
I don’t think you really can adjust to losing the most important person in your life. I think you just learn to live with it. That absence never goes away. You never feel quite whole again. You can’t really adjust to not having them around anymore. I don’t think other people really get that. It’s one of those things that you can’t understand until you have experienced it first hand.
Although this year has seemingly been filled to the brim with sadness, I have also grown and learned a lot. I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned a lot about my friends. I have grown into the person I am right now.
I feel different as a result of the second year without her. I still miss her, and I am always going to miss her. But, I have learned that I do not have to do this alone. I learned that there are people in my life who will hold me while I talk about her. I learned that there are people in my life who will encourage me when I am down. I learned that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible. I can look back on this year, the second year, and I can say that I am proud of the accomplishments I have made. I can say that my mom would be proud of the accomplishments I have made.
I don’t know what year three brings. I don’t know if it will be better or worse than this year. I do know that I can do it. I do know that I am not alone. I do know that I am stronger than I once believed I was.